One School at a Time: Covenant Christian School

A science class at Mishawaka's Covenant Christian School does not stay contained in the four walls of the conventional classroom to learn. Instead, they've moved to the great outdoors.

Behind Covenant Christian School, there is a pond, some nature trails and a small wooded area.

A nature hike at the school means more than exercise and fresh air, it is actually a lesson led by science teacher Alvin Essenburg.

"I love it," said eighth grader Anna Schwartz. "It's not just everyday science. It's like really fun and we get to interact with like real things."

Essenburg takes his students beyond the science book and out into the where the things they study actually live.

"It wasn't just a bunch of words on a page," said Essenburg. "It was, 'Oh look, here's the real thing. Here are the spiders that I'm counting and that's kind of how you want to teach science. You want to have your hands on it."

Covenant Christian is the latest winner in Martins Supermarkets One School at a Time grant program, giving them $1,000 to spend on further research.

The students have studied insects like spiders, butterflies and even a praying mantis. They even studies life stages of aquatic organisms.

"We found planeria, we found dragon fly nymphs, little fish and big fish and tadpoles," said eighth grader Kassie Moyer.

The students use simple butterfly nets to find the pond organisms but thanks to the Martin's grant, hope to purchase new and better equipment.

"That's where this money comes in," said Essenburg. "It allows us to go out there and do some of this stuff that we didn't have before."

And with more equipment and warmer weather, the students hope to study more of the world around them by conducting water tests and more closely observing plant life.

"Here at this school we're not just learning the facts," said Essenburg. "We're saying God commands us to take care of the world to be stewards of it. How do we now take what we learn and do something with it."

For more information about Martin's Supermarkets One School At a Time grant program, click here.

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